Hidden in the leafy suburbs of north Leeds, Valley Wood Studio is a comprehensive boutique facility specialising in acoustic and performance-based music.
As a professional recording studio built into a family home, we take a holistic approach to the business. Music is infused into the life of the house, and creative exploration is at the heart of everything we do. We believe that setting can profoundly influence performance, and we pride ourselves on making clients feel at home.
The result of this philosophy is a relaxed, organic space in which creativity can truly thrive. Click here for a discography of some of the projects that have found a home at Valley Wood.
BARKLEY McKAY - Producer / Engineer
Barkley’s 25-year career has spanned performance, recording, engineering, education and composition. He toured with The Pretty Things in the early ‘90s on guitar and since then has worked both as a touring and session musician on guitar, piano and Hammond organ with artists as diverse as Crystal Gayle, Jon Langford, The Mekons, The Waco Brothers and Khaled Mouzanar. For a select discography, click here.
Barkley has taught on and developed courses at FE, HE and post-graduate level since 1994, working at Leeds College of Music and Leeds Beckett University, as well as running workshops for York St John University and the University of Leeds.
KATHERINE AXEL - Studio Manager
Katherine manages Valley Wood’s development and has set up numerous arts initiatives at the studio. She has worked with children and young people in a variety of roles for nearly 20 years and heartily enjoys the work the studio does with students and young entrepreneurs.
As an artist herself, Katherine also enjoys the role the studio plays in bringing projects to fruition. Her work is underpinned by a clear insight into the creative process and a desire to support artists to achieve their goals in an industry that is facing profound and exciting changes.
MATT BOURNEMusician | ComposerBilbao SydromeBourne - Davis - Kane “I have known Barkley for many years and have worked with him in a variety of recording
contexts (tech metal, jazz trio and larger ensemble work) and, with his usual trademark professionalism, he is able to handle any situation with consummate ease and is one of the very few people that I fully trust in a studio setting. His skills as a technician are also matched by his extraordinary abilities as a highly-experienced musician, resulting in invaluable advice and
suggestions before, during and after the recording process. Recording at Valley Wood is a very special experience - situated in a peaceful backwater near Roundhay it is relaxed and homely (with fine coffee, tea and biscuits in constant flow), making it the perfect environment for any recording project.”
hugely professional and above all brilliantly musical. It is this amazing musicianship which sets him apart from other engineers; his knowledge of the instruments he records is hugely impressive as is his attention to detail and problem solving attitude. He produces wonderfully balanced sounding records with a depth and warmth to them that is hard to find elsewhere. I would highly recommend Barkley and Valley Wood Studio.”
LAURA FOWLESMusician | ComposerLovely Laura“Barkley is undoubtedly one of the best in the business when it comes to mixing your album.
I have had nothing but exceptional comments on the mixing of my album Off The Ground which has had much national radio play across the country. It has since been signed by Robin Millar CBE (legendary producer of Sade, Randy Crawford, Style Council etc) who instantly praised the work of the mixer. Barkley's help, expert guidance and perfect vibe within his Valley Wood Studio is second to none. Barkley - your ears are the best! Thank you so much xx”
JAMES HAMILTONComposer2010 British Composer Award “Working with Barkley in the relaxed easy going surrounding that is Valley Wood was a pleasure. It was great to work with a producer who speaks so fluently the language of the musician and a top bloke too!”
KIRSTY McGEESinger | Songwriter2011 Independent Music Award"Having worked with Barkley both at Valley Wood Studio and out on location, I am always
impressed by his friendliness, efficiency, excellent problem-solving skills and knowledge. Barkley is one of those quiet, capable people you feel immediately at ease around. I would gladly give over the reins of any project I was involved with into his hands, secure in the knowledge that the job would be done not only on time but also surpassing all expectations. The studio setting is cosy and homely and, whilst fully equipped with all you might need, remains friendly enough to be a place where it's easy to lay down good work without the 'red light fever' so often associated with clinical studio environments. I would (and do) recommend Barkley & Valley Wood for both live and studio recordings. It's good to have someone you know you can trust to work to high standards and whose thoughtful, encouraging presence around any recording brings out the best in the musicians involved."
MAT MARTINMusician | ProducerFlatpack MusicHobopop Recordings“I have worked with Barkley McKay at Valley Wood Studio on several projects, as performer
and producer, and hope to do so again in future. The atmosphere and feel of the place and people are informal and welcoming, and conducive to great work. The combination of engineering skill and equipment offered is capable of producing recordings of a very high commercial quality. I would go to Valley Wood as a first choice of studio for any project I am working on, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others as an excellent working environment. The sensitivity to project, style and budget, and the musicality offered by Barkley are second to none, and I trust him implicitly to give my projects the attention to detail they require. His opinion, comment and touch are of great value to me as a producer and have helped to shape the projects I have had the pleasure of bringing to Valley Wood.”